The Gulf of Thailand, is home to some pristine pieces of paradise of which Koh Samui happens to be the crowning jewel. Amidst luxury resorts, awesome nightlife and posh spa treatment outlets for the high and mighty, is a surprisingly relaxed culture which has made this place as one of the top draw destinations in the whole of Asia.
This island sensation is small enough to drive around in just one hour, but hidden deep within it are an array of exquisite pagodas,wats,temples and dirt cheap accommodation, that makes Koh Samui a haven for travelers of any budget. Here is a list of the seven top places where you are bound to have a whale of a time on this island of eden.
#1 Ang Thong National Marine Park
A colleague of 42 surreal islands, the many breathtaking spots of Ang Thong National Park, make it the number one attraction of any tourist to Koh Samui. Visitors are greeted with jaw – dropping images of limestone walls, rising dramatically almost vertically from the sea.
In addition, the stunning coastline, lush green foliage, a plethora of hidden coves and beaches to explore all add up for a perfect day’s outing from Koh Samui. From the end of March to early October, when the weather is at its best this area is best visited, since the park is greatly injfluenced by the monsoon thereafter.
The topmost places to spend your Koh Samui Vacations, apart from the wide variety of marine and bird life is the beautiful beach of Koh Mae and the famous and scenic saltwater lake Thale Nai.
#2 Fisherman’s Village
The charming town of Bo Phut, with its genuine laid back atmosphere, is a favourite holiday getaway for those seeking peace and tranquility.The top tourist favourite of this sleepy place is undoubtedly Fisherman’s Village.
Come Friday, and the narrow beach road, or Walking Street, comes alive between 1700 and 2300 hours. Traders come from all over Koh Samui to sell their wares at very affordable prices. All the adjoining streets and pavements are crammed with buyers, looking for bargains. Tee shirts, handicrafts, imitation jewelry,handbags, sunglasses and copies of items of popular brands are on display.
Fisherman’s Village is different from the other areas of Koh Samui, in that apart from shopping, it is ideal for stay in the number of good low budget rentals available everywhere.
The natural beauty of Koh Samui is very well complimented by its equally excellent restaurants and eateries. Over the past few years, dining options on this island have extended to availability of some of the finest cuisine from every corner of the world.
With a large number of high quality cooks and chefs deciding to make Koh Samui their culinary base, the island now boasts of the most number of high quality star eating outlets than could be possibly found anywhere else.
These excellent restaurants and their highly skilled chefs dish out tropical fruits, poultry and meat, unending variety of seafood and the freshest of vegetables, just waiting to be savoured.
#4 Hin Ta and Hin Yai
If you are into Samui culture and folklore, then the famous rocks of Hin Ta and Hin Yai are worth checking out. Located between Lamai and Hua Thanon, these Grandfather and Grandmother rocks, as called in English, have today become the leading attractions of Koh Samui.
These naturally formed rocks, bear an uncanny resemblance to the male and female genitals, a sight found so unusual that photographers throng here to take images of this unique natural phenomenon.
Once you are through with the laughing and smirking, you can head to the many souvenir stalls selling Thai handicrafts and some delicious locally made coconut caramel which is definitely worth a try.
#5 Explore the island
Get away from the busy tourist attractions of Chaweng and Lamai for some time and head to some unspoilt and underdeveloped places to really get up close to the hidden treasures of Koh Samui.
Just hire a motorcycle and hit the road for a fun and inexpensive trip to the western part of the island, from Maenam towards Phangka bay till Thong krut. The secluded and quiet bays here are well worth the time and effort.
The sea around here is perfect for snorkeling and even fishing, providing you book a trip to the nearby Koh tan and Koh mudsum islands. Traveling around the island is simple and straightforward, with no possibility at all of losing your way.
#6 Wat Khunaram
For an in depth understanding of the traditional Buddhist and Thai culture, a visit to the unusual and extraordinary mummified monk at Wat Khunaram should hold you in good stead.
Housing the remains of a famous monk, who passed away in 1973 in the process of meditation, the body has been preserved in the same position and kept on display. It is widely said, that even after so many years, till today there are no signs of any decay on the body.
Surprisingly, the mummy has sunglasses which presumably a fellow monk had placed on him as a prank, soon after his death. Buddhists, are said to look forward to deaths in order to reborn, which could probably explain this incident.
Koh Samui, today, is a far cry from the once backpackers destination fame. The island is now totally transformed and developed into a leading tourist hot spot for families and friends.